John Delk
23 Apr 1815 to 4 Aug 1888

John Delk (John) was born April 17, 1815 in Preble County, Ohio. John was the first child born to Nancy Byers and Ethelred Delk.

John spent the early part of his life living with his parents in Preble County, Ohio and in Darke County, Ohio. John probably worked on his father's farm. Since his father was a schoolteacher, John probably got some kind of education during his early years. However, there are no records about John from his birth until his marriage.

John married Sarah Ann Kerns on November 7, 1837 in Preble County, Ohio. Records show that the marriage took place in Harrison Township where John was born. Garland Harris, Justice of Peace, performed the wedding. Sarah Ann was born in Miami County, Ohio near the town of Troy. Why they chose to marry in Preble County is not known. Sarah had turned eighteen in September.

John's mother had already died at the time of his marriage. His father died the following February (February 14, 1838.) Thomas Hathaway was appointed administrator of the estate of Ethelred Delk because John relinquished his right to be administrator. This is recorded on page 23 of the Darke County, Ohio Common Pleas Court records dated April 18, 1838.

On August 6, 1838 John and Sarah Ann had their first child, Solomon Bennet Delk. Priscilla Laura was born September 16, 1840. Jeremiah was born July 2, 1843. He died on October 3, 1845. There is no available record where he is buried.

John Henry was born March 28, 1845 and Mary Etta was born November 11, 1847. All of these children were probably born somewhere in Darke county, Ohio. Some information gives a location in or near Greenville, Darke county, Ohio. This is not confirmed.

On January 22, 1848 John bought from Philip and Julia ann Hartzell lots 15 and 16 of Hartzell's addition in Beamsville, Darke County, Ohio. The price was $50.00. This was recorded in the Darke County, Ohio Deed Book on February 9, 1848. Whether John built on these lots is not known.

On February 7, 1848, John's brother, Joseph Oen, chose John as his guardian. Joseph Oen was 14. This is recorded on page 51 of the Darke county, Ohio Common Pleas Court records. The entry is dated April 5, 1848.

On July 22, 1849, Dorothy Ann was born. She died on July 30, 1849.

The 1850 census showed John and his family living in Dayton, Ohio and Joseph Oen was living with them. John's occupation is listed as shoemaker.

Three more children were born while living in Ohio, presumably in Dayton. they were: Olive Sardinia on September 22, 1851, Fernandis Orien on September 19, 1853 and Joseph Theodore on September 18, 1855.

In 1856 John moved his family to Chariton, Lucas County, Iowa. Lillie May was born on December 17, 1859.

In the 1860 census John is again listed as a shoemaker. Also listed is a Carrie B. Delk, age 6 1/2. This is the only time she is listed and no other information is available. Because John did not move to Iowa until 1856, she had to have been born in Ohio. Priscilla Laura is listed with the last name of Conner and with a son, Phylander Conner.

The last child, Elmer Elsworth, was born on February 11, 1861. Sarah Ann was 40 years of age.

John moved his family to a farm in Decatur County, Iowa in 1863. The farm was in Center Township near what was then known as Crown, Iowa. Crown was south of county road J20 and east of what is now U.S. Highway 69. Franklin Cemetary was near Crown.

The next record of John was the 1880 census. At that time he was still on the farm and Elmer was the only child remaining at home. The census indicated that neither John, Sarah Ann nor Elmer could read or write.

John's son, Joseph Theodore (Thede), and his wife had moved to Kansas where they had two children. A few weeks after the second child was born in 1883 Thede's wife died leaving him with a four year old and a newborn. Thede returned with the children to Iowa. At some point before mid 1887, Thede left the baby with his parents and departed for Oregon.

On September 4, 1887, John's wife died. Shortly thereafter John returned to Ohio and Indiana where several of his brothers and sisters lived. He stayed until the spring of 1888 when he returned to his home accompanied by his brother George Washington Delk (See George's Journal.) While John was away, his grandson lived with his daughter, Priscilla Laura.

John and his brother traveled to Putnam County, Missouri to visit their ailing sister, Elizabeth. On August 4, 1888, John died at his sister's home.


  • John and Sarah Ann Delk
    John and Sarah Ann (Kerns) Delk
  • John Delk
  • John Delk
    Taken from photo album presented to Mary May Delk, from her Uncle Thede.